The Del Norte Warriors are having a lot of fun this season, and it looks like that’s going to continue for a little while longer.
On Saturday night, they took care of business in commanding fashion yet again, defeating Urban 59-42 in the North Coast Section Division-IV quarterfinals and securing a place in this season’s NorCal tournament.
“We want to play as much as we possibly can,” head coach Justin Clifton said. “And our girls are loving it.”
In what has been an historic season for the program, which won a first-ever Big 5 title and a first Dick Niclai in more than 20 years, the Warriors are 19-1 in their past 20 games, with their only loss in that spell coming in overtime against South Medford.
If anything they have been even more impressive in the playoffs, with the No. 2 seeds turning in a pair of dominating performances this week, outscoring two San Francisco opponents by a 2:1 margin, 129-64.
A third San Francisco team will make the long trip north to Crescent City for Wednesday’s semifinal showdown, after No. 6 Lick-Wilmerding upset the odds at No. 3 Marin Catholic, 56-49, also on Saturday.
The Warriors had been hoping for a rematch with Marin Catholic, the same team that knocked them out of the playoffs a year ago.
They will, however, savor the showdown no matter who they’re playing.
“It’s nice to have another Frisco team have to drive up here,” Clifton said.
The excitement surrounding the team on their historic journey has built to the extent that the coach said they had to turn away some fans on Saturday.
“It was a completely packed house,” he said. “The fans are going to have to get here early (on Wednesday).”
Kaleya Sanchez was given a surprisingly free run against Urban, finishing with 29 points, as the Big 5 MVP continues to dominate.
“You could tell they didn’t do their homework on us,” Clifton said. “How do you not guard an All-American. And she missed a lot of easy shots. She could have had 50.
“They were a well disciplined team. But for whatever reason they didn’t do their homework.”
The visitors instead focused on containing standout sophomore guard Jadence Clifton, whom they held to four points, while giving Sanchez more of a free hand.
And the sensational senior made them pay, helping her team take control of the game early and outscore them in all four quarters.
The Warriors led 28-16 at halftime.
With the win, Del Norte is now 23-2 on the season.
No matter what happens in Wednesday’s NCS semifinal, the Del Norte girls will be moving onto the NorCals the following week.